The Daring and the Cowardly: Four Sweeps Surprises

By Marlena De Lacroix

With spoilers, there are no storyline surprises on soaps anymore.  That’s not to say that the ways in which storylines are presented can really come as shockers — especially in the February sweeps that just wrapped up, the sweeps in which we expected little to nothing interesting because of the Writers Strike.  So here are four soap stories/sweeps events which really shocked moi this month, either because they were so daring … or so cowardly!Ameera

Daring — As the World Turns Introduces an Iraqi character:  When Ameera, the hijab-wearing newly arrived ward of Colonel Mayer (Noah’s murderer father) turned up at the Snyder farm to get to know Noah and Luke, I was truly shocked.  A Muslim woman on daytime! We’ve never seen that before!  I usually like social issue stories and this could either turn out to be wonderfully humanitarian (demonstrating how hard it is for a Muslim woman to blend in to the U.S. in this time of war) or it could merely be a device to further a writer or producer’s liberal political agenda.  How long will it be until Bill O’Reilly is on to this?

Attaching Ameera into a story with fellow “societal outcasts” Luke and Noah can [Read more...]

As the World Turns’ Men in Love: The Controversy Rages!

By Patrick Erwin

A few months ago, I shared with our “Thinking Soap Fans” my thoughts on the Luke and Noah story on As the World Turns, and  what it meant to me.

In the last few weeks, buzz about the story has erupted into controversy, as many fans are up in arms about the show’s reluctance to show the couple kissing or expressing affection. The story has expanded to mainstream media, and took on new dimensions when the conservative American Family Association jumped into the fray by designating Procter & Gamble — which produces ATWT and supplies much of its advertising — the catalyst for an “action alert” as a result of P&G’s sponsorship of what the AFA termed “pro-homosexual” programming.

To make sense of what’s happened, I asked a few people who are familiar with both the soap world and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) world to give us their perspective. [Read more...]

All My Children’s Angie and Jesse: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing!

By Marlena De LacroixDebbi Morgan

All My Children‘s newly revived characters Angie and Jesse are causing me pain.  At the end of every scene they are in, I start to hurt, because I have to watch so many scenes of the rest of the storylines on AMC until I see them in their next scene.  These characters (and actors Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams) are so good and so real and so what soap opera used to be all about — love, romance, authentic human beings experiencing authentic human emotions — that they blot out the rest the show.

Did you see Jesse and Angie’s  actual reunion clinch during the reunion episode?  Specially shot outdoors trackside near a train station, with some very interesting camera angles by guest director Andrew Lee, the sequence was really terrific! 

Jesse A moment full of joy, full of the release of years of buried pain, full of love.  Marlena was blubbering so much, I finally stopped shouting, “It’s modeled after Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton’s famous trackside reunion embrace in the film Reds!”  (It takes a lot of shut Marlena up in the middle of making a movie reference during a soap.)

Since there is little magic these days happening on daytime soaps, you can bet the PTB upstairs are analyzing what has made the Angie and Jesse character return so special.  Is it the actors? Certainly, that’s the huge part of it.  Morgan and Williams, Emmy winners both, have always been extraordinary actors and AMC should thank its very lucky stars that they were available.  Both are seasoned by years of movies, TV movies, series and theater, and their ripe maturity as human beings is [Read more...]

The “New” Guiding Light: Give It a Chance

By Patrick ErwinRobert Newman

Guiding Light has gotten an awful lot of ink lately — not over storylines or any actor or actress, but because of some substantial changes in the way the show is made and produced. Many mainstream press outlets have reported on these changes — giving them another opportunity to poke fun at the soap genre – or try to administer last rites.Beth

A lot of fans have bombarded Internet message boards with their intensely negative reaction over these plans, and considering the track record for GL (and, frankly, all the shows) over the last few years, it’s understandable that they’d be wary of this new innovation. “Innovation” in this genre often seems like a synonym for “fixing something that isn’t broken.”

But I have to admit, I’m approaching these changes with an open mind. I’m really intrigued by the possibilities. And I’m also being realistic. I mean, let’s be blunt and [Read more...]

Days of Our Lives’ Glorious Sweeps Event

Days plane crashBy Marlena De Lacroix

My readers know what disdain I usually have for stagey sweeps stunts, so imagine my shock at being sucked into the very beginning of last Friday’s episode of Days of Our Lives and then spit out an hour later thoroughly entertained … and even thrilled!

The plane carrying various members of the Brady family returning from Ireland had veered off course and the hour featured passengers fretting for their lives and scrambling for a dwindling oxygen supply while John and eye-patch-wearing Steve (a one-eyed flyer?) struggled to pilot the failing craft into some kind of landing.  The episode was filled with a feeling of suspense and urgency like nothing I’ve ever seen done on a soap opera.  It was more like [Read more...]

For Valentine’s Day, 5 Soap Couples Who Were Really Super

By Patrick Erwin

I  want to observe Valentine’s Day by discussing some of my favorite soap couples. I know soaps are famous for their “supercouples,” those pairs that keep coming back to each other through sleet, snow, and psychotic ex-spouses. Most shows have had these grand couples:  Luke and Laura,  Bo and Hope, Josh and Reva, and so on. But I’d like to honor Another Worldfive couples that had the most impact on me — the ones that moved me, made me laugh, made me sigh and made me believe in love — or as Marlena would say, l’amour!

Rachel and Mac, Another World:  Mac and Rachel were one of the most believable stories ever to play out on our screens. A theater director I worked with once said the magic of any performance was when you really believed, and I really believed that Mac [Read more...]

A Tribute to General Hospital’s Shell Kepler

By Marlena De LacroixShell Kepler

Nurse Amy Vining was a supporting character on General Hospital, but she was omnipresent throughout the  fabled Luke and Laura/Gloria Monty years.  After all, she was Laura’s sister!  As Amy, Shell Kepler, who died last week in Oregon, always had a quick quip or a giggle for anyone who hung around the nurse’s station.  My journalist friend Ed Martin, one of the “Monty Men” (a term I coined for my many male friends who first became superfans of GH in the Monty years — and are still watching, waiting for those years to come back!)  penned a wonderful tribute to Shell. Read it here.

10 Sweet and Soapy Valentine’s Day Questions

By Marlena De LacroixSarah Brown

1.  Is it my imagination or did bravura actress Sarah Brown return to General Hospital (as Claudia Zacchara) with a little something extra under the signature slutty red wrap dress?  And isn’t fierce mob princess Claudia very similar to Maerose Prizzi (Oscar winner Anjelica Huston) the fierce mob princess who wants to take control of her mob family in the 1985 hit movie Prizzi’s Honor?  Is there a mob movie that Bob Guza has  failed to rip off?

2.  Indeed, is there any Hollywood movie that Guza hasn’t ripped off? Last night I watched 1983′s War Games, about a nerdy but lovable teenage computer hacker [Read more...]

As the World Turns: The Dark Side

By Patrick Erwin

A few weeks back, when I watched the scenes surrounding the death of Dusty Donovan on As the World Turns, I was overwhelmed — not because of Dusty’s death, or because of a performance or a line of dialogue. I was completely overwhelmed at how utterly dark ATWT is — and has been for some time now.

I mean, look around Oakdale. There’s prostitute Emily, former porn actress and drug addict Alison, overdose victim Lily, and a manipulative Chris Hughes. There’s an emotionally desperate mother (Sofie) and an extremely creepy adult (Sam) spending way too much time with Carly and her kids. And that’s before we even begin to contemplate the quadrangle of darkness that is Craig, Meg, Rosanna and Paul (soon to end, with the unfortunate departures of Cady McClain, who plays Rosanna, and Scott Bryce, who plays Craig).

Now, I’m not suggesting that ATWT launch a new storyline arc by having the entire cast gather at Bob and Kim’s, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya.”  Clearly, exploring [Read more...]

General Hospital: Kids with Guns for Sweeps

By Marlena De LacroixDylan Cash

I’ve never lost sleep over a soap opera before.  But when I saw Michael buying a gun on General Hospital, the thought of what most likely will come next so disgusted me I couldn’t calm down. Now that Michael — at approximately age 12 — is packing heat, either he or his little brother  Morgan is going to get shot, or one of them will shoot an adult. Someone could even die.

General Hospital is lower than dirt.  I want to go on record saying that, even though we don’t know yet exactly who will shoot whom,  and what the atrocity masquerading as a storyline is going to be.

This is February, sweeps month, when soaps will do anything to get ratings. So Jill, Brian, Mr. “On Strike” Guza, don’t insult me by trying to pass this story off as a [Read more...]